2012 is almost here and I've decided to up my game. I've got a very lofty income goal, so I've decided to create a plan to keep me on track.
I intend to make more money than I did in 2011. In fact, I'd like to double my income. Not impossible, but I'm going to have to work hard for it. Without going into too much detail, I will need to stage an average of 8 homes per month, plus do 2 paid home staging consultations per week (or some combination thereof) in order to meet my goal.
Here's some of the tools/processes I'm going to use to implement my plan (in no particular order):
- Create to-do lists to stay on track and help keep track of my progress. Actively use those lists - the important part.
- Keep better track of clients, former clients and people who have contacted me either by phone or through my website. They are all a valuable source of referrals. In order to do this, I just signed up for Highrise from 37 Signals. It's a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. It will help me keep track of all my current home staging clients, past clients, and people I'd like to become clients. I can set it up to send me reminders to contact a certain individual or group every 3rd Thursday, create to-do lists for each client, etc.
- Send out an email newsletter regularly (1-2 times per month) and send auto-responder emails to new contacts. In a nutshell, I want to do a better job of staying top-of-mind for past, current and future clients. I am using iContact.com. I used to use Constant Contact, but they don't offer the auto-responder feature, which is important to my current plan.
- Make a greater effort to request clients submit reviews and testimonials to sites like Angie's List, Yelp and Google Places. Reviews (preferably positive ones:o) are a great way to win a new client's trust.
- Blog more often, and in more places. My goal is a minimum of 2 blog posts per week. I've looked at my Google Analytics and can see where my website traffic is coming from. If a site is bringing me more traffic, I will post more there. I get lots of hits from ActiveRain, so expect to see more of me here. After all, there are only so many hours in a day and I want to use my time productively.
- Continue to refine my Los Angeles real estate staging website. I signed up for ScribeSEO. I thought I knew a lot about SEO, but Scribe is helping me to be even more effective by refining my pages and posts to further attract the search engines. Its not cheap, but since my website is where most of my business comes from, it's a worthwhile investment.
- Build a few of new websites, aimed at specific home staging and real estate niche markets that I want to target. I have the advantage of being co-owner of Easy Designer Websites (with Kathy Nielsen) so this is a snap for me. By the way, Easy Designer Websites builds awesome Wordpress websites for home stagers :o)
- Continue to look for ways to work more efficiently, on staging jobs, in marketing and when building websites for other stagers. I believe the more efficient I am, the more profitable I will be. Also, the more efficient I am at work, the more time I will have to relax, play and dream.
- Investigate hiring a Virtual Assistant to help me with many of the repetative tasks that plague any small business. I'd much rather be staging or marketing than writing estimates or contracts.
- Add at least one more stager to my team. I'd like to add another stager that can work as an independent contractor (legally, per the IRS). Another stager means I can actively service more home owners and real estate agent clients.
(Note: The iContact and ScribeSEO links are affilate links. I use both products and recommend them highly.)
2012 is almost here. What are you going to do differently, less of or more of to increase your bottom line?